Promoting Health Through Organic Food

Promoting Health Through Organic FoodPromoting Health Through Organic Food

The 8th Organic Products Week opened in Tehran on Saturday with international manufacturers and producers attending the event at Goftogu Park.

Participants are presenting organic food products and herbal medicine, and services in over 100 pavilions at the event which runs through December 25.

In a bid to raise awareness towards the significance of healthy nutrition in people’s lives, the Tehran Municipality (TM) has adopted the slogan “Healthy Food, Healthy Citizen, Healthy City.”

The Organic Products Week has been organized in line with this policy, said Abdolhossein Rahimi, head of the TM’s Fruit and Vegetables Management Organization.

Speaking at a press conference, he acknowledged the collaboration and efforts of the Iran Organic Association in cooperating with the event since last year. “This shows how important it is to assign experts to fulfill a task. With the collaboration and assistance of the private sector and NGOs, the government organizations can successfully carry out a task,” ISNA quoted him as saying.

He pointed to the need to elevate the quality of life as a priority for administrators, and said to achieve the aim and to provide healthy nutrient food products, the TM has been organizing such programs for the past eight years.

The event seeks to promote the use of organic products in everyday life, bolstering public education and awareness in this area and drawing state organizations’ attention to the issue.

Organic foods are produced by organic farming. While the standards differ worldwide, organic farming in general features cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity.

In organic farming, instead of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers, organic farmers rely on biological diversity in the field to naturally reduce habitat for pest organisms. Organic farmers also purposefully maintain and replenish the fertility of the soil.

The public warmly welcomed the previous rounds. This shows their attention to personal health and quality products. “Despite the higher prices of organic products, people are prepared to pay more for healthier food items.”

Rahimi was of the opinion that the TM is not in charge of policy or production of food. It only plays a supervisory role in monitoring food products by constantly screening them.

For instance, at the end of the previous Iranian year (ended March 20) 10,000 samples from Tehran fruit and vegetables markets were tested in the accredited laboratories and the results were sent to the Tehran City Council for follow up action.

 Consumption Increase

Seyed Reza Nourani, head of the Iran Organic Association, established in 2006, emphasized the necessity of cultural development in relation to and support of organic products.

Over the past 10 years “We have witnessed major developments in increasing the production and use of organic food,” he said.

He hoped that along with the “Blue Sky, Clean Earth” program, the TM would take effective steps in promoting and optimizing the production and use of organic products. Calls have been made for more government assistance in this key food area.

Pointing to 45 special shops for organic food products across Iran, Nourani said the association is supervising the stalls. Any breach of standards will be reported to the relevant authorities as it directly concerns people’s health and well being.

Currently, 5-6% of organic products are consumed in the country and organic crops make up less than one percent of the area under cultivation. Over the past 10 years domestic demand for such products has been rising.

Iran has the potential to turn into a leading producer of organic crops, Nourani said earlier, citing pomegranates, figs and pistachios, which are among the country’s major export items.